The Hospitality Project

Everyday life extraordinary

Keeper of the Home (and Plants)

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Coming into motherhood, I was sure I was going to have the same kind of “brown thumb” I had with plants.  We would walk through Art Knapp’s Plantland in PG and there was a shrill howl among the terrified ones.  These timid plants would shiver and push themselves up against the wall and close their eyes, pretending to be invisible in the hopes they would not go home with us.  The braver ones stood staunchly at the front, ready to meet their grisly fate of slow death by alternating drowning and starving until the last bit of green was drained out of their very veins.  Brown and withered, the valiant plant would be thrown into the garden and a new victim would be sought out.  I clearly did not have a green thumb in the arena of gardening.  Would mothering be the same?  It takes a nurturing soul to raise up these human young plants.  They would need soil and roots and tender pinching off of deadheads, watering and misting and sunlight and so much more.  I was not up to the task.  It frankly terrified me.  I did the only thing I knew to do.  Pray.  Read and read and read about parenting…and pray some more.

My own childhood is a blank spot in my life.  I don’t recall much and the memories I do have are wispy and gray and usually recalled through some of the photographs in the family album. What propelled me into motherhood was necessity.  I was pregnant.  Baby was coming.  Period.  No longer did we have the five planned years to pay off our house and get debt free.  We now had just under two years as two and only one income before our firstborn entered the world.


Our sleep or lack thereof lasted only minutes after she came into the world.  A bright spot of sunshine, she craved someone standing over her smiling and cooing every waking moment.  Sleep became a luxury and we were deprived of it often.


Knowing we were very ill equipped at this parenting thing, we wrestled with the idea of having another when we could barely manage with one.  The decision was made for us.  Another was on the way.  This sweet little bundle arrived and was doted upon immediately by all three of us.  Our hearts grew and we made room for this little rosebud in our lives.


A move many hours away from the only place I truly knew as home came and we left.  My heart was shredded and overwhelmed with finding schools, doctors, dentists and friends.


One by one we added to our family until we reached the capacity of our quiver.  No longer brown thumbs at this parenting, we were developing a rhythm where the Lord was growing us in our capabilities and flexibility.  We were in a parenting greenhouse.


We operated with the seven of us at dinners and learning at home and running errands and experiencing new things as a family for many many years…a season of constant.  Kevin would ask the kids at the dinner table, “What is our family mission?”  The kids would echo, “to be a blessing.”  My heart was embedded in this constant.  There is just something about familiarity that makes my heart nestle in and sigh with contentment.

Then it happened.  Someone came walking through our nursery and spotted a plant that he set his eyes on.  He knew that was the one he wanted and he prayed and waited and visited us often to know his little treasure.  One day in May, we gave a precious part of our heart’s garden to a wonderful man who had promised to love, honor and cherish her all the days of his life.  He has purposed to do just that.  We gained a son and an empty room and a shifting of the family and a nightly ritual of tears and memories.


Emails and Facebook messages from an uprooted plant that was sent out to the East Coast speak of amazing opportunities, new family and friends, bubbling over with excitement of what is to come.  Anticipatory of the upcoming travels with her team, the sunshine traveled through the telephone wires and lit up the continent from coast to coast.  Things would not be the same again.


The only thing that was sure was there was sure to be change.

This has always been a hurdle for me.  After a perfect family holiday, I would be hesitant to plan for the next one because I wanted to savor the last and hold onto the memories and I feared the future one would not hold so many beautiful treasures.  In the same way, after a particularly lovely family season, it is hard for me to embark on a new journey feeling like I am leaving behind the old memories.  What I have come to realize is the NEW adventures and memories do not make the old ones fade away.  Change does not erase the loveliness of yesteryear…it fertilizes it.  It propels us forward into new adventures and fresh waters.  Every season of our lives is like a flower that has been brought to its fullness.  There will be no more growth in that particular season and the winds shift to a new season, a new purpose. The garden is always being grown…expanding and filling the earth with its fragrance. God, in His kindness gives us change to grow us. We can always trust His hand to be firmly in our through all changes in our lives.

My mind wanders back to Mikayla in Kindergarten belting out a song that spoke of being a flower being planted in God’s Word. Her little chubby fingers framing her face and searching the crowd to catch a glimpse of us.  The memory is embedded on my heart while the words are vague and I cannot recall them.  My heart sees the moment and begins to grasp the wisp of our moments.

Moms, let’s remember to hold onto the moments and not hold THEM in the moments.  We can hold those precious moments in our hearts as we embrace the change and thank the Lord for the opportunity He has given us to be stewards of such precious gifts. As a mom, that is our gift to the world while it may bring temporary pain and longing to our hearts.  We send our children forward to be a fragrant offering to the gardens they visit.  May they each be a scent of kindness and a covering of refuge, a vibrant array of green life as they venture forward.


We can fight it or we can embrace it and continue to water the soil of our lives and continue to produce fruit of the Holy Spirit.   LOVE.  JOY.  PEACE. LONG SUFFERING.  KINDNESS. GOODNESS. FAITHFULNESS.  GENTLENESS.  SELF CONTROL.  It is through this that we are being pruned into the express image of our Lord Jesus Christ who longs to transform us.  In this transforming, may we be filled with the desire to continue to pour our hearts into the task at hand, knowing the path is steep and sometimes filled with bramble bushes and will result in some pain and separation. Alongside there is a deep residing joy with the amazing reward of knowing that our children are making an impact for His Kingdom and in this hurting world as a balm of His grace, a fresh breeze and sunshine to the soul.


Author: Jacqueline

I am a lifelong learner. I am daily dazzled by the beauty in the mundane extraordinary life I have with my family and friends.

One thought on “Keeper of the Home (and Plants)

  1. Beautiful. I love your writing and feel the warmth through technology. Thank you for sharing your journey through the gift of words! I anticipate many more writings of encouragement, pondering, and musings!

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